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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 00:08 GMT
Mubarak warns on Saddam execution
Saddam Hussein, 7 November 2006
Mubarak is a long-time critic of Saddam Hussein
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has warned that hanging former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will lead to even more bloodshed in Iraq.

A Baghdad court condemned Saddam Hussein to death on Sunday for the killing of 148 Shia Muslims after a 1982 assassination attempt against him.

Mr Mubarak said hanging the former president would only exacerbate ethnic and sectarian divisions between Iraqis.

They are the first public comments on the sentence by an Arab leader.

"Carrying out this verdict will explode violence like waterfalls in Iraq," Mr Mubarak is quoted as saying by Egyptian state-run newspapers.

The verdict "will transform (Iraq) into pools of blood and lead to a deepening of the sectarian and ethnic conflicts," he said.

'Festering sore'

A long-time critic of Saddam Hussein and ally of the US, Mr Mubarak and other Arab leaders are alarmed by the relentless violence in the country.

The BBC's Heba Saleh, in Cairo, says many Arab leaders can see Iraq turning into a festering sore, radicalising youth across the region and creating more anti-American sentiment.

She says that despite their view of Saddam Hussein as a dictator who brought disaster on his people, many have serious reservations about his trial, held under what they consider US occupation.

In an interview earlier this week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki told the BBC that if the appeals court confirmed Saddam Hussein's sentence, "it will be the government's responsibility to carry it out".

He said that the former Iraqi leader could be hanged by the end of the year.

Timeline: Saddam Hussein Anfal trial
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